The Dirty Nil’s music video for “No Weaknesses,” a track off of their debut album Higher Power, features the Canadian trio bench pressing and bitching at each other. Every other scene is an attempt to get back in shape, while close ups show off how they can’t break the habit of temptations – in this case, chocolate bars and smoking.
Higher Power, released last February from Dine Alone Records, paved the way for guitarist and vocalist Luke Bentham, bassist David Nardi and drummer Kyle Fisher, especially as critics couldn’t quite exactly pinpoint whether they were “punk,” “rock,” “indie” or a fusion of all.
Since the 11-track piece came out, The Dirty Nil has spent the last month touring, sharing stages with Billy Talent, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes and Dead Soft. Third Coast Review caught up with Fisher right before The Dirty Nil’s set at Rebel Stage at Riot Fest in Chicago.
How’d you guys all get together?
Way back in high school, Luke and I started playing in his parents’ basement and like skip out on lunch and play. We were a two-piece for awhile, and we needed a third person. And we’d all played in bands with Dave, so we brought him in, and we’ve been that way ever since 2009.
I think one of the flaws music journalists have is categorizing music, and reading review of Higher Power is an example of that. If anything, it’s evident critics are trying to just figure you guys out. What’s your reaction to those reviews that try to put The Dirty Nil’s sound in a box?
It depends. Usually, there’s some like ‘I don’t know about that one.’ Maybe it’s because it’s music I don’t listen to or things like that. For the most part, like Luke always says, ‘Whatever you hear, whatever you get out of the music, it’s in there somewhere.’ We have a long list of influences. It comes from everywhere. We can sound like a lot of things; we can sound like one particular thing.
What were you guys looking to accomplish with Higher Power?
For that one, because it was our first record – and we’ve been doing singles and things just very organically – like [we were] trying to capture that moment of where we’re at. So, Higher Power was an attempt to do that, I guess, at its peak, at its best moment. We just decided to put out the best songs that we could on a record and capture them like lightning in a bottle – all live.
And you guys decided to release it on Dine Alone Records.
Basically, Dine Alone is a pretty prominent Canadian label. We don’t really work with people who don’t seem very into it, like who aren’t going to work hard. They been chasing us down for a few years. We were unsure. We’ve had some weird things happen in the past, so we’ve always been very cautious going into new partnerships. [Dine Alone has] tried really hard; they work really hard for us. They’re a great staff, a great office. They’re good people, and that’s all we could ask for.
You’ve been playing together for awhile now. How do you think you three have grown or changed throughout the years?
We’ve definitely gotten better at all our instruments. We all listen to different kinds of music. … We slid into our positions and like how we are taking music and we play together. We’ve been playing together for so long that we’ve cemented in our roles as a band. We’re very comfortable with each other, and it’s very second nature. It’s always fun.
So, give me a taste of who you’re all influenced by.
We’re all over the place. I’m really into hip hop – like MF Doom is my favorite, Kendrick Lamar, obviously. That kind of stuff. Vince Staples is really good. … I started big on like 36 Chambers, but it’s all over. I’m on a huge metal kick right now; I like this band Boris. It’s a Japanese metal band, and they’re really good. But we all started listening to classic rock and slowly branched out. Dave is like very deep into the punk realm. He’s the big record collector in the band. He’s all over the place with that. And Luke’s always been into classic rock and roll, power pop and all that kind of stuff.
What are you most looking forward to for today?
Playing Riot Fest Chicago is a big one on the bucket list. We’re really excited that they had us out, and we think it’s going to be a really fun show. We also got some friends playing in town today. Big Ups are playing today; The So So Glos are playing, so I’m excited about that.